Categorized | Opinion

Ferguson is all too common in America

By Achrijoli Chanteuse

Mike Brown

Mike Brown

The Brown/Wilson incident sounds all too familiar. Death at the hands of an officer using “deadly or excessive force.”
On Aug. 9, Ferguson Police Department Officer Darren Wilson approached two African-American males, 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr. and his friend Dorian Johnson in his police cruiser on the 2900 block of Canfield Drive.
Reportly, he demanding them to move from the street to the sidewalk. Wilson’s account of the incident alleges Brown initiated an altercation through his car window, at that time, his gun discharged and both Brown and Johnson fled. The officer said while pursuing the two young men, he fired about six shots, resulting in the death of the unarmed teen Brown. He reportedly died 35 feet from Wilson’s cruiser between 12:01 and 12:04 p.m., about three minutes from their actual encounter.
Brown was accused of lowering his arms and attempting to charge the officer resulting in the decision to use “lethal force.” Due to the fact that FPD doesn’t use dashboard cameras, there is no recording of the incident.
According to an eyewitness, Brown was shot after dropping to his knees with raised hands, pleading with the officer not to shoot. Forensic evidence proves Brown was kneeling with his hands raised when shot.
Based on the autopsy performed by the renowned Dr. Michael Baden, Wilson, 28, “fired more than the six shots that actually struck Brown. He was wounded before the fatal shots to the head.” Baden also stated, “not a single shot entered the teen through his back. All other wounds were survivable.”
To this day, the official police report hasn’t been made public, and FPD issued a statement that the police report will not be made public until after the case goes to trial, because it had already been turned in to FPD the day of the incident.
The moniker “Hands up, don’t shoot” inspired by Brown’s shooting death, has been adopted by the Ferguson protestors, as well as people protesting throughout the country in disagreement with the preceived injustices against the teen and in defiance of FPD.
A firsthand account from one of the Ferguson protesters came from Brian Garrett, Activist/Entertainer/Entrepreneur. Some of the news coverage in recent days has focused on Garrett and his fellow protesters. Reports of increased violence, and the deaths and injuries due to continued shootings of protesters at the hands of FPD officers has been broadcasted across America.
“I believe there’s enough blame to go around,” Garrett said. “The police should be a friend to the community, not a force. There are negative things going on… and I don’t justify any looting, but people are emotional and frustrated because they feel no one is listening. It’s turning into a warzone at night, here.”
Garrett said he knows the area well being a resident of Normandy, Mo., a neighboring suburb of Ferguson. He also attended Normandy High during his teenage years.
Many racial problems in the region are now under a national spotlight and the next issue Garrett discuss was the viral video showing Michael Brown paying for the cigars that he was wrongfully accused of stealing.
“Ferguson police needed time to get their story straight,” Garrett said. “As well as their character assassination of Mike Brown, this has already been planned.”
Over the past week, in the wake of the fatal shooting the citizens of Ferguson, Mo., as well as other communities throughout the country, have initiated retaliation against the FPD in the forms of rioting, looting, vandalism and other forms of violence, for not immediately investigating the incident due to a supposed “lack of evidence,” nor surrendering the clothes Brown was wearing at the time of the shooting to be tested for gun powder residue in order to make an exact determination as to what range Brown was shot.
Though Ferguson is a predominately African-American suburb of St. Louis, it is described as one of the most racially prejudiced areas in the United States, because the police force, the politicians and the members of the school board are mostly Caucasian. In the event of the FPD’s failure to investigate the incident between Brown and Officer Wilson in a timely manner, the Federal Bureau of Investigation  has taken the initiative to launch a Civil Rights investigation on the case. In an attempt to calm the social unrest among the residents on, Aug. 16 Gov. Jay Nixon imposed a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew, only to be lifted on Aug. 18 and replaced with members of the U.S. National Guard in support of the FPD once he realized the situation was worsening.
Moments before Brown’s fateful run-in with Wilson, an alleged robbery was reported, that which had nothing to do with the officer stopping both Brown and Johnson. The report came from a customer inside the store, but according to the store’s owner, none of the clerks informed him of any robbery. Recently video footage has been released showing what appears to be an African-American male, fitting the description of the 18-year-old, paying for the cigars he was accused of stealing.
Prior to this incident, Wilson served four years as a police officer, two at an undisclosed local police department, and two at the Ferguson Police Department all with a clear disciplinary record.
Despite being accused of robbing the store, Brown had no previous criminal record. At 6’4” 292lbs, Brown was described as “a student who loomed large and didn’t cause trouble” and a “gentle giant.”
Had he not been shot in cold blood, he would’ve started his H.V.A.C. training at Vatterott College in a few days in pursuit of his certification. Although he often told family and friends of how he wanted to one day own his own H.V.A.C. business, Brown also was an aspiring rap artist releasing his music under the name “Big Mike.”   As shocking as cases like these are, this is not a new occurrence. Malice Green, 34, Detroit (1992); Sean Bell, 23, New York (2006).; Eric Garner, 43, New York (July), and now, Michael Brown, Jr., 18, Ferguson, Mo. Naturally, some will try to refute the fact that this is a racially charged incident, but even to the most naïve individual some form of racial tension presents itself. Situations such as this, have been documented (and undocumented) for years.
Ferguson is about 400 miles from the state of Tennessee, still there are some similarities, such as dashboard cameras and “military grade” weapons. Ferguson hasn’t implemented the use of “DashCams” and for the most part neither has a lot of the police departments here in Tennessee.
National media coverage displayed Ferguson’s use of “military grade” weapons and tactics causing multiple shootings of protesters at the hands of officers using “excessive force”, rapidly increasing the injury and fatality statistics. FPD has been issued such weapons in order to “control unruly protesters” and unfortunately a lot of Tennessee Police departments have been added to that statistic…
It’s all a part of a government surplus program. Soon police departments all over the country will be in possession of the same type of weapons issued to the Ferguson Police Department.
I believe something needs to be done to prevent any reoccurrences of the “Mike Brown incident.” I believe we as a community need to meet with the lawmakers and implement some changes. Some of these laws should be amended so that we may remain at some level of normalcy.
I also believe that law enforcement should do just that — enforce the laws. Enforce these changes. Please note, I’m not speaking out against every officer, because I’ve met many honorable officers both male and female and to you I give a resounding “thank you.” I hate to be cliché but, in this case one bad apple can spoil the bunch. Excessive force should be used only when absolutely necessary. For example if someone is a presumed threat to themselves or to society. I believe then and only then will we as a people begin to see a change.

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